Exit polling from last night’s election suggests that clear majorities of voters in key states support legal access to abortion, and oppose efforts to criminalize abortion in all cases. Considering the fact that voters also rejected the five anti-choice candidates who emphasized their opposition to abortion rights across the board, even for survivors of sexual assault, it’s clear that reproductive rights have become a decisive election issue:
– New Hampshire: Voters in New Hampshire overwhelmingly support abortion access, with 71 percent of voters reporting they believe abortion should be legal all or most of the time. Just 27 percent of voters there say it should be illegal. The state also has the distinction of electing the first all-female Congressional delegation, with two female Senators and two newly elected female Democrats who ousted the male Republican incumbents for seats in Congress.
– Virginia: In Virginia, which ended up casting its 13 electoral votes for Obama, only 33 percent of voters told exit pollsters that they think abortion should be illegal. Sixty-three percent, on the other hand, think it should be legal all or most of the time.
– Ohio: Ohio also went blue for Obama, and it also has a strong majority of support for reproductive rights. Fifty six percent of Ohio voters believe abortion should be legal all or most of the time, and just 39 percent say it should be illegal.
– Missouri: Voters in Missouri narrowly reelected Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) over her Republican opponent Todd Akin, who once defended his opposition for abortion rights for rape victims by asserting that “legitimate rape” doesn’t often lead to pregnancies. Exit polling reported that Missourians who support abortion access enjoy a slight majority, with 51 percent of voters saying they support access to abortion in all or most cases. Two thirds of those voters chose to support McCaskill.
After several far-right GOP candidates for the House and Senate lost their races last night, one of the clear trends emerging from this election is the widespread rejection of extremely restrictive views on reproductive rights. Even though the official Republican party platform endorses a sweeping ban of abortion without even the narrowest of exceptions, national polls confirm that the majority of the country currently supports legal access for all abortion services, and Americans overwhelmingly favor legal abortion rights for survivors of sexual assault.